Savannah Kokaliares finally had a designed pantry with ample room to hold provisions for her family of six. She just needed to add storage strategies and a bit of style. Thanks to her work on the Classy Clutter blog, she had no shortage of ideas.
Before, the pantry was large, but it was underperforming without a specific organizational system in place. Shelves were messy and visually overwhelming when full. A U-shape layout created wasted space in the corners.
The pantry's most notable feature was its potential. Kokaliares cleared out everything so she could give the existing shelves a fresh coat of paint before beginning to organize.
First, she found a personality-packed wallpaper to jazz up the space. Then she grouped like items such as baking supplies, packaged snacks, pasta, and canned goods. After measuring shelf depth, width, and height, Kokaliares selected plastic bins, glass jars, airtight acrylic containers, and baskets to corral each category. The result is what storage dreams are made of.
Kids' snacks are easy to reach on lower shelves, dinner ingredients are placed at eye level, and small appliances and bulk items reside on the top shelf or floor. A sturdy step stool offers access to out-of-reach items.
Vinyl labels made with a cutting machine identify jar contents. "Adding labels in this pantry helps not only me remember where each item belongs, but my family as well," Kokaliares says.
White plastic bins hide busy packaging so the space feels neat and clean. Clear glass jars ($10, Target) and plastic containers help Kokaliares know when she's running low on dry goods and to-go snacks.
Vinyl adhesive labels stand in for the original pancake mix packaging. Kokaliares writes expiration dates on the glass jars with a permanent marker, removing it easily with nail polish remover.
Sturdy wire bins ($24, The Home Depot) stand up to heavy canned goods and can be pulled out to quickly reveal what's hiding in the back.
Twelve-inch lazy Susans ($9, Bed Bath & Beyond) prevent dressings, condiments, and jars of pasta sauce from disappearing in dark recesses. A nonskid silicone surface keeps the goods from sliding.
Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.